I have been given a Gurumantra by my Guru, do I still need to chant the Name of God as per my religion?
1. Definition of a Gurumantra
A Gurumantra is a Name of God, mantra, number or a word given by a Guru to His disciple to chant for the purpose of his spiritual growth towards attaining God-realisation. In most cases a Gurumantra contains a particular Name of God specific for the disciple’s spiritual growth.
God-realisation is the highest spiritual experience that a person can have, i.e., when he experiences continuous oneness with the Supreme God Principle or experiences continuous Bliss (Ānand).
A disciple is a person of around the 55% spiritual level. This means he is one who sacrifices more than 55% of his body, mind and wealth for spirituality and has an intense desire for spiritual progress. Refer to the sixth basic principle of spiritual practice.
2. Spiritual strength of a Gurumantra
The efficacy of a Gurumantra is dependent on the spiritual level of the person giving the mantra.
As you can see from the above chart only when the person imparting the Gurumantra is above the 70% spiritual level i.e. Guru or a Saint, does it (the Gurumantra) have true spiritual strength. Quite often people out of ignorance follow spiritual guides who are not Saints. This is not necessarily a bad thing. As a rule of thumb a person can only understand guidance and put it into practice from a person who is about 20% spiritual level more than him. For example a person at 50% spiritual level will be best suited to guide a person at the 30% spiritual level. If a person is sincere about his spiritual practice and has intense desire to grow spiritually the unmanifest Guru principle or Teaching principle of God creates the right opportunities in the seeker’s life (in terms of spiritual guides) to facilitate spiritual growth.
3. I have been given a Gurumantra by my Guru, do I still need to chant the Name of God as per my religion?
The answer will depend on the circumstances in which the Gurumantra is given.
1. The person imparting the mantra is above the 70% spiritual level and the disciple at 55% spiritual level.
In this case it is best that one chants the Gurumantra. The spiritual strength of a Gurumantra lies in the resolve of the Guru imparting the mantra.
2. The person imparting the mantra is below the 70% spiritual level and the person being imparted the mantra is around the 30-40% spiritual level.
In this case it is best to chant the Name that one has most faith in whether it is the Gurumantra or the Name of God as per the religion of birth.
One advantage of chanting the Gurumantra even if told by a person at the 50% spiritual level is that one practices listening to someone else. This helps the person to go from doing things as per one’s own wish (swēchhā) to as per other’s wish (parēchhā). When one does things as per other’s wish, it helps to reduce one’s ego. If one practices chanting the Gurumantra with full faith and has intense desire for spiritual growth then the unmanifest Guru principle or Teaching principle of God Himself brings a true Guru on the Earth plane into the person’s life.
Refer to the article on swechha, parechha and Ishwarechha
4. Some points related to the Gurumantra
Sometimes Saints give a chant to a person to overcome problems in life where the root cause is in the spiritual dimension. This is so as to remove obstacles in spiritual practice for the devotee. Sometimes people mistake this chant as a Gurumantra. It should be remembered that a Gurumantra is only for spiritual progress towards God-realisation.
Some people persistently ask a Guru for a Gurumantra. In some cases the Guru may give the persistent devotee a Gurumantra. These devotees should be aware that unless their desire and sacrifice for God realisation is commensurate with a person at the spiritual level of 55%, the Gurumantra too will be namesake only. Accordingly obtaining a Gurumantra by paying (money) for it is also a namesake Gurumantra.
Even if one has been given a Gurumantra by a Guru for spiritual progress one should also complement the chanting with service unto the Absloute Truth (satsēvā), sacrifice (tyāg) and love without expectation for others (prīti).